As the cell phone turns 40, is the landline still relevant?

Which phone do you prefer? Photo: Ben Schumin via Wikimedia Commons

Forty years ago today, the first cellphone call was made.

Before 1973, people lived without wireless access to friends and family and only had access to landlines.

Cellphone or landline? 

Landlines have not yet gone extinct but “overall landline use has been moderately declining over time,” said Telus media coordinator Shawn Hall.

Despite the use of wireless phones skyrocketing, Hall said landline access “really gives customers more choice in how they use telecommunication services.”

Hall said Telus currently has 7.7 million customers using cellphones nationally compared to 3.4 million landlines being used.

Use of the company’s phone lines went down 5 per cent in 2012 and wireless subscriptions increased by 4.5 per cent since 2011.

Students living on their own typically only use a wireless service, he said, although later in life are likely to use both services.

“They might just have a wireless phone [for] a few years,” he said. “They buy a house, they get married, they have kids and often times pick up a wired phone at that point because they want to have the ability to have everyone on the phone at once.”

Langara students and their smartphones

Langara general studies student Krista Marshall texts on her smartphone. Photo: Kayla Isomura

Hall said smartphones are reigning in popularity over basic cellphones, which Langara College students seem to depend on as well.

Photography student Ben Prokapetz frequently depends on his iPhone for email and “mostly for school.” For him a landline is out of the question.

“My apartment doesn’t even have a phone jack,” he said. “But I wouldn’t pay for a landline. I’m never home.”

Krista Marshall, another Langara student, said she isn’t too dependent on her cellphone.

Despite using it often, “I leave it at home sometimes,” she said.

Like Prokapetz, Marshall opts for one phone due to cost and her living situation.

“I live in an apartment and I don’t want to pay for two phones,” she said.

Hall said the cost of a landline typically runs from $25 a month to $40 a month.

Reported by Kayla Isomura

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